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An Indian woman walks past wall graffiti in Mumba An Indian woman walks past wall graffiti in Mumbai.  (AFP or licensors)

UN marks International Day of Happiness

Since 2013 the United Nations has been observing the International Day of Happiness on March 20 to underscore the relevance of happiness and well-being in the lives of all people.

By Robin Gomes

Every year on March 20, the United Nations invites each person of any age, plus every classroom, business and government to join in celebrating the International Day of Happiness.  

Happiness and well-being

The UN General Assembly, in a resolution document on July 12, 2012, declared the annual observance recognizing the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives.

The resolution also recognized the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples.

Happiness report

On the occasion of World Happiness day, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network publishes the World Happiness Report which contains rankings of national happiness and analysis of the data from various perspectives.   The main focus of this year’s report, in addition to its usual ranking of the levels and changes in happiness around the world, is on migration within and between countries.

Finland the happiest

Finland came out on top in the happiness scale.  It was followed by Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia.

All the top countries tend to have high values for all six of the key variables that have been found to support well-being: income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.

Finland topped both the rankings, with the happiest immigrants, and the happiest population in general.

Worst performers

Burundi, that has had problems of civil wars, coup attempts, poverty and security, took over from the Central African Republic as the unhappiest place in the world.  Surprisingly, five other nations, viz.  Rwanda, Yemen, Tanzania, South Sudan and the Central African Republic – rank below Syria in the happiness report.

20 March 2018, 13:26